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Kelly Jennings, Newport Group
2019 Service Stars  | Individual

Kelly Jennings

She helped the plan sponsor transition to a new retirement plan provider.
  • Recordkeeper Company
    Newport Group
  • Client
    American Efficiency Services
  • Client Industry
  • Client Headquarters
    Woodbine, Missouri
  • Plan Assets/Participants
    $1mm – $5mm/23

BIO: Kelly Jennings has been a relationship manager in Newport Group’s Fresno, California, office since 2011. She provides retirement plan services to over 80 plans.

When American Efficiency Services (AES) decided to outsource its accounting department and change its 401(k) retirement plan provider, in January 2017, it believed the process would be simple. Payables, receivables and payroll would go to Webster Rogers Financial Advisors and its 401(k) plan to the Newport Group.

“We underestimated and failed to understand how large the requirement was to transition everything on the 401(k) side,” says Robert Mechem, managing partner at AES, which provides guaranteed leak detection, tube cleaning and industrial inspections to a variety of industries including electrical generating, petrochemical, food processing, pharmaceutical and ethanol-producing facilities. While the company had decided how it would manage the accounting services conversion, little had been arranged concerning the 401(k) plan.

Newport Group Relationship Manager Kelly Jennings was placed in charge of aiding the plan sponsor with the transition, and through her and her colleagues, the conversion was successfully made. Jennings’ team assured the sponsor that the plan would stay in compliance and the team would make for a seamless conversion. Aside from assisting with these tasks, she educated employees about the new fund lineup and their investments, plus on how to use the redesigned web platform.

The completion of all documentation—including census and compliance testing—was managed by Jennings, so the company could focus on its business and the accounting transition. Jennings would reach out to the plan sponsor regularly, ensuring that any audit requirements were met.

Whether for facilitating the conversion or helping to educate a new hire, the plan sponsor praises Jennings and her team for their consistent availability—since the conversion, in 2017, she has continued to ensure that the plan runs efficiently.

Mechem says, “The level of detail and efficiency in which Kelly and her team operate indicates we made the correct move and should have done it much sooner.” 

—Amanda Umpierrez

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